Is it true that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger?
One fascinating study was spurred by discovering that both Ariely and Hanan Frenk (a double-amputee after driving over a landmine) refused painkillers for dental work (why bother?). Frenk and Ariely studied whether people who had suffered traumatic injuries had a higher tolerance for pain. They do.
from Tim Harford's blog.
The the thing, the flip side of the coin is that on "one bad day" whatever doesn't kill you can leave you "half dead." To inject some politics, some events, like a layoff, can mentally cripple people for years, often triggering major depression. A study using the German socio-economic panel found that on average it takes around 5 years to recover from a layoff. This is more relevant now than ever, with so many people slipping into long-term unemployment.
I don't understand how anyone who spent some time in the real world could think debt is a bigger worry than structural unemployment.